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Ending EU restrictions would bring relief to family food budget

November 3, 2008 12:00 AM

Proposals to ease the tough restrictions on the appearance of fruit and vegetables would help families with their weekly food budget according to Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA Tim Farron MP.

The EU will vote later this month to consider revising rules brought in two decades ago which classified fruit and vegetables according to strict specifications based on appearance. Currently, it is against the law for supermarkets to sell produce that does not meet these strict European Commission guidelines.

As retailers estimate imperfect produce would be around 40 per cent cheaper than perfect-looking fruit and vegetables, Mr Farron has called for the government to back the proposals and help families struggling with their weekly food budget.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"It seems crazy that during a recession supermarkets aren't allowed to sell perfectly good produce simply because the EU won't allow it.

"Over 20% of domestic produce is thrown away because it doesn't meet EU regulations. This is a huge amount of waste that should be used to give people cheaper fruit and vegetables.

"When you're worried about the family food budget you don't care if your carrots are perfectly straight or your apples completely round. Allowing supermarkets to sell imperfect fruit and vegetables will give families a helping hand at a time when the Government seems intent on bailing out banks rather then making the weekly shop cheaper."